Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Something Resembling a Vicious Universe

Once again, I'm looking for a job. I think the Universe is trying to tell me something. What is it, do you think? I feel like my entire life has been a series of moving and looking for a job. I mean, except, of course, when I was a child and lived with my mom. At that time, I was pretty lucky to have some kind of something resembling stability. Since I turned 18 and left home, I've had nothing of the sort. An insistent roller coaster ride. That's what life is.

Yes, yes, I know I should count my blessings. At least the country I live in isn't in uproar and we're not constantly wondering what our national boundaries are, like some countries. Or are we? I mean, is the U.S.-Mexico border, really a border? And what about that hilarious U.S.-Canada border?

The borders, they're just laughable. I can't help it. Right now I feel like busting up. It's all a bunch of pantomiming, this false sense that there's a division between Mexico and the U.S. Take, for example, when Stoker and I were coming back from Cabo San Lucas. In the airport in Mexico, their customs consisted of a line with some men in something resembling an official uniform, who told us to push a button, one person at a time. If the light flashed green after you pushed the button, you were okay, move along. If it turned red, you were not okay and you had to be searched. Stoker and I split up and went in different lines. Green for me, okay, go ahead. Red for Stoker, not okay, bludgeon him on the head. Just kidding, they're not that serious about customs.

They opened our bags. Actually, I think we switched the bags before they looked through it because Stoker had the bag with all our dirty laundry in it, and no one wants to air their dirty laundry in a Mexican airport. Ha ha. The officials did something resembling a baggage search, and whatever we had in there was okay. No drugs, no fruit, no illegal firearms, that sort of thing. So they let us go free, much to their dismay. They were so hoping for the chance to detain some unlucky American.

Yeah, so anyway. The job search is promising. I'll keep everyone updated. Perhaps the next thing you'll know, I'll be some top record executive raking in the dough.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Rock City: Not So Rockin'

I hurt my back on Friday. I was at work, lifting a case of water, and I twisted while lifting. Something you shouldn't do. But who knows that kind of stuff? Really. Is it so strange to think that my body is invincible? Aside from all the typical aches and pains that I regularly complain about to Stoker or my mother, I'm in good health. And I think I'm tough and buff and athletic and all that stuff that's not true about me anymore, but has essentially carried over from my youth, which ended at 27 (an aribitrary age that I picked by virtue of it not being 28). So I pick up a case of water, hefting it around like it's not a struggle, like it weighs about the same as my kitten, Sobek. But it doesn't. And I twisted (everyone told me after it happened: no no no, you shouldn't twist while lifting. Never, never do that).

So I tweaked something in my back and I was down for the count. Well, not really. I kept lifting things and working and trying to sit or stand, neither of which were very comfortable. Once I got home, lying down also wasn't comfortable and 800 mg's of Ibuprofen didn't seem to help, nor did the intermittent icing and heating.

This all led me to call my boss at 9:00 pm (Friday) to tell him I wouldn't be working on Saturday. Then I went to the grocery store to get some more powerful drugs, which they don't have at a grocery store, but I hoped perhaps they had started selling Lortab as an OTC without my knowledge. They didn't. But while I was there I picked up some other groceries. Then I went home.

Surprisingly, the walk did me good. My back felt somewhat better. Or maybe the 800 mg's of Ibuprofen had finally kicked in.

So the next day, Saturday, Stoker had off. And he had Sunday off too. And I had Saturday (called in*, remember?) and Sunday off. Hmmm. What does one do in a case like this? (I know, the average couple usually has the weekends off together. This hasn't happened for Stoker and I since we got married and moved to Arizona. I swear it.) One goes to Chattanooga. I know, you're thinking: why wouldn't you go to Chattanooga? It's obviously the thing to do. And you're right. So we went to Chattanooga.

We did all the things you would do in Chattanooga. We went on the Incline Railroad, a legendary railroad car that goes up a very steep mountain, known as Lookout Mountain (which, as they tell you while you're riding in the railroad car, is the southern most tip of the Appalachian Mountain range). And we went to Rock City.

What is Rock City, you might ask? Well, if you've driven anywhere in the south and especially if you've driven along I-24 towards Chattanooga, you've seen the billboards and barns imploring you to See Rock City. So we did. I imagined, from Stoker's description (based on what others had told him and what he'd read on the internet) and from the brochure, that it would be something akin to Zion National Park. If you've seen the brochure for Rock City, you'll notice that it mainly features cool images of giant boulders that you have to squeeze between and a cool waterfall and a great view of the valley below. And certainly there are those things.

Except the waterfall is man made. And the neat swinging bridge isn't quite as cool as the brochure makes it out to be (I know, that's the purpose of advertising). And there are freaky fake gnomes everywhere and all the places have fairy tale names. Literally. One of them, I think, is actually Fairy Tale. And there's this horrible section of the path (the path is paved with flagstones and it's pretty much the only way through it), a tunnel, wherein there are tiny scenes depicting gnomes mining, all lit up with black lights, and ocean coral glued to the ceiling. There are also scenes from fairy tales, like Hansel and Gretel, also lit up with black lights. Did I mention this portion of the path is freaky? I'm not quite sure why it's there or what to make of it, save the creators are trying to acheive some kind of Small World type of thing. Why? I don't know. They should simply embrace the rocks of Rock City instead of trying to be a theme park.

All in all, I'd have to say save your $15 (yes, that's the price of a measly walk through a freakish garden) and go to Zion National Park if you want to see a real wonder of the world. Admission to Zion's is much cheaper and it's all real. Seriously. My complaint is that the natural beauty of Rock City hasn't been exploited so much as it's been turned into something carnivalesque.

I'll allow that someone with children might get a kick out of Rock City. I guess that's the only time I could potentially justify a visit. Even then, I'd skip the freaky tunnel. Had I gone through it as a six-year old I think I'd come away a bit frightened, and probably would have had nightmares. Yes that's right. Nightmares.

*Interestingly, in Nashville they call it "calling out" when you call in sick. In Utah, where I'm from, they call it "calling in."